03 September 2008

RIP: Jerry Reed

Jerry Reed
20 Mar 1937 - 31 Aug 2008

ZUI this article from the New York Times:
NASHVILLE — Jerry Reed, a popular country singer and movie actor whose larger-than-life storytelling and flashy guitar work vividly evoked Southern life, died early Monday morning at his home here. He was 71.

The cause was emphysema, said Butch Baker, Mr. Reed’s friend and song publisher.

Best known in later years for his role in the movie “The Waterboy” (1998), starring Adam Sandler, and in the three “Smokey and the Bandit” adventures of the late ’70s and early ’80s, in which he played Burt Reynolds’s gear-shifting sidekick the Snowman, Mr. Reed was first and foremost a musician.

Mr. Reed accompanied himself on the three dozen Top 40 country hits he recorded under his own name from 1967 to 1983. Many of the songs also relied on his clowning persona, including his three No. 1 singles, “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot,” “Lord, Mr. Ford” and “She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft).”


Jerry Reed Hubbard was born in March 20, 1937, in Atlanta. The son of cotton mill workers, he began playing the guitar in elementary school, later graduating to nightclubs and bars in and around Atlanta as a teenager.


Mr. Reed is survived by Priscilla Reed, his wife of 49 years, and by two daughters, Sedina and Lottie, and two grandchildren, all of Nashville.

Jery Reed's entry at IMDb is here. Further information about his music can be found here. And, of course, there's a Wikipedia article.

I liked the original Smokey and the Bandit, and I liked what I saw of another movie that might have been Gator, but I remember him mostly as a singer. "Lord, Mr Ford" and "The Bird" are my favourites of his songs.

Update 0941 5 Sep: According to this article from the Nashville Tennessean, which provides more information about Reed's career, he actually died shortly before midnight on Sunday, 31 August.
In 1958, Mr. Reed ended his association with Capitol. He enlisted in the United States Army in 1959, the same year he married Priscilla “Prissy” Mitchell. Army brass thought Mr. Reed’s talents better suited for a stage than a battlefield, and the would-be warrior became a member of the army’s Circle A Wranglers band.

Brenda Lee — a member of both the country and rock ’n’ roll halls of fame — remembered that Mr. Reed was in full military uniform when he saw her at the Atlanta airport and mentioned that he had a song that would be good for her. That song, “That’s All You Gotta Do,” was a Top 10 pop hit for Lee, and it was the “flip” side of Lee’s wildly popular single “I’m Sorry.” That success was a change for the better, as was a 1961 military discharge and the development of a unique guitar-playing method that would later be called “Claw style.”


“Like Django (Reinhardt), Chet and a few others, Jerry Reed created a unique style of guitar playing, one which will be carried on by admirers for generations to come,” said musician David Hungate. Scholar John Knowles told Thomas Goldsmith, “His playing has the complexity of classical music but the rhythmic sense that comes from country, rock and gospel.” And bass man Henry Strzelecki, who played on “Amos Moses,” “Lord, Mr. Ford” and other Reed hits, said, “Jerry brought rhythm and blues and country together, and it came out funk. He’s one of the finest talents we’ve known. And he made people happy. You couldn’t be sad around Jerry.”


There were plenty who never knew of Mr. Reed as anything more than “The Snowman,” or as the coach in The Waterboy. He was funny, and an entertainer, and in terms of movie-making that was enough. He fully understood that most of the general public didn’t know that he was one of the most compellingly original guitarists of all time, and he fully understood that many session guitarists not only understood it but also attempted to replicate his feel and technique. And he was fine with all of that.

In the end, Mr. Reed sought neither acknowledgment nor celebration, to the point that he requested a quick and private funeral. He was buried Tuesday afternoon in Nashville, and he is survived by wife Priscilla Hubbard, by daughters Seidina Hinesley and Charlotte Elaine “Lottie” Stewart and by grandson Jerry Roe and granddaughter Lainey Stewart.

Mr. Reed’s only regret regarding the guitar was that his declining health meant he could no longer play. Making music would have been a comfort in his final months. Instead, he enjoyed the company of family, and the visits from old friends like Lee and [Bobby] Bare.

1 comment:

Atlanta Attractions said...

" Best known in later years for his role in the movie “The Waterboy” (1998), starring Adam Sandler " ... great movie